Burzzzwood, bags and banners…

February 23, 2011

The Burswood (pronounced ‘Burzzzwood’) Entertainment Complex is my destination today for Crop Updates 2011. The Burswood is an incredible facility, replete with a theatre, convention centre, sports dome, casino, golf course (In other words, ‘heaven on earth’ to some of my brothers-in-law). And this is no Quality Inn or Super 8. No sireee! This is the kind of place where you order San Pellegrino, not Desani. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the patrons bathe in it. Overall, a very impressive facility with a unique architecture.

Crop Updates 2011 is Western Australia’s premier agronomic event and is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). The event hosts an estimated 500 delegates a year (60%+ are men) all of whom, today, were buzzing enthusiastically around the 20+ exhibits, high on agriculture and humidity. Good stuff. The program looks promising as well.

As is customary for me in new and strange places, I hang back and observe. On the Myers-Briggs test, I am assessed an introvert although I think I come across as an extrovert. It’s all smoke and mirrors folks! Anyway, I do eventually approach the registration desk but with a bit of trepidation. Inevitably, at international conferences, one of two things happens to me: They either spell my name wrong (egs., Camellia, Camilli, Cormel, Canal (I’m not kidding on that last one)) or they affix me with the prefix “Mr.” Sigh. This time it’s all good, though! “Camille Ryan”

Now for the goodie bag.

I’m going to go out on limb here and say that it is unlikely that this Crop Updates 2011 bag is as good as what the celebrities got at the Oscars this year. Having accumulated umpteen million of these things over the years, there is little that impresses me in terms of bag structure or content. Now, don’t get me wrong, I always appreciate a good pen (and i mean a ‘good’ pen; at the very least, one that works). A jump drive is truly la pièce de résistance of conference bag wares but, sadly, they are a rare occurance. As far as I’m concerned, those stupid little note pads are a total waste of time. Who uses those things, anyway?

I shuffle off to a corner to inspect my newly acquired wares. Hmmm…lots of pamphlets which, by the looks of it, will add 5 lbs of extra weight to the suitcase for the trip home. I will have to rummage through those later and cull out the extraneous stuff. And what’s this?

A little note pad (oh, gee, thanks GRDC).

Aha! Never mind, you’ve redeemed yourself GRDC, there’s quite a good pen in here.

The bag, itself, is electric-light, neon yellow with Crop Update 2011 emblazoned across it. Subtle. This is an interesting strategy since conference coordinators asked delegates to dodge demonstrators and avoid drawing attention once at the facility. Not that we really had anything to worry about. The anti-GM demonstration was quite peaceful; comprised of a handful of, what appeared to be, good natured folks wearing floppy hats and bearing large banners. I mean, have you ever seen a more benign group of protestors?

Highlight of the day: not being harassed by demonstrators.

Lowlight of the day: not being harassed by demonstrators and, of course, the stupid little note pad.